by Simon McFall
On Sunday November 20th the first ever girls' NEPSAC all-star game was held at the Brooks School. It was a marvelous event as 50 girls from schools all across New England gathered for the festivities. I had the privilege of coaching one of the teams in the Class C/D game. Which, had the first two Dublin School girls ever named to a girls soccer NEPSAC all-star game : Imhoff '18 and Stella Davis '18. Both girls put in a great effort and demonstrated good form in the match.
The day began around eight in the morning as the girls showed up for check-in. I was immediately struct by the great energy amongst the players. As each girl arrived there was a clear passion that they each had for the game and the event.
As the game kicked off the teams took a few minutes to sort each other out. The game had no definable rhythm or flow to it in the first few minutes. But as the game progressed, our team began to grow into the game. With an outstanding back line and midfield it was not long until our team began to create chances on goal.
One of the earliest chance came when a thru ball put Stella Davis in on the goal from the left side. Despite being closed down by both the keeper and a defender, Stella created one of the more dangerous chances in the early stages of the match. The keeper made several outstanding saves during the first half. We would continue to create more chances on frame. Then late in the half, a corner from the right side saw Bette Imhoff gather the ball and beat the keeper, only to see it cleared off the line by one of the defenders. The first half finished 0-0.
It was wonderful during the match to see the connection the players had and were creating. All game long on and off the field the girls were sharing stories of their seasons, school, and soccer experience. By the end of the match girls who had never met before, knew each others’ names, stories, and had new bonds together.
Heading on to the second half, our team was still growing in spirit and tempo. Stella Davis continue to create scoring chances for herself and her teammates playing both as a striker and midfielder. Meanwhile, Bette Imhoff spent most of her time in the midfield connecting passes all over the field. But late in the game we moved Bette to striker in what would turn out to be a great move. Late in the game Bette was played a ball in the 18. She turned and took on two Defenders. She chopped the ball back between both players and found herself 1v1 with the keeper. Then as Bette did so often for Dublin this year, she calmly tucked the ball away for the first ever game winning goal in the girls NEPSAC all-star game. Stella and Bette played exceptionally well on the day and represented Dublin and themselves well.
It was such an honor to coach all the players but to have two Dublin School players made the event one for the ages.